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Acid Reflux Clinic for GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux, is a disorder in which the esophagus, the tube that connects an individual’s throat to the stomach, frequently becomes infected with acid-containing stomach content. The condition happens when content from the stomach moves back up into the esophagus (acid regurgitation).

GERD Symptoms

The major symptom of GERD is often acid reflux which causes an uncomfortable burning feeling in an individual’s chest (heartburn)

A person experiencing acid reflux frequently develops a sour or bitter taste at the back of his/her mouth. Additionally, it could result in food or drink coming back up into the mouth from the stomach.

Other symptoms of GERD include:

  • Chronic cough
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chest pain
  • Pain when swallowing
  • A hoarse voice
  • Nausea

Causes of GERD

Acid reflux is caused by the weakening or relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter. In normal circumstances, the valves should close tightly after the food enters the stomach. Stomach content will therefore rise back up into the esophagus if it relaxes when it shouldn’t.

Risk Factors of GERD

  • Connective tissue disorders
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Delayed stomach emptying
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Smoking
  • Eating late at night
  • Some medications, such as aspirin
  • Certain types of beverages such as soda, alcohol, or coffee

Diagnosis of Acid Reflux

The following tests may be recommended by the doctor during the diagnosis of GERD:

  • Upper GI series: Upper GI tract X-rays can reveal any GERD-related issues. The patient will be required to drink barium, which will move through the tract as the X-ray tech takes pictures.
  • Esophageal manometry: The doctor will insert a small flexible tube with sensors into the patient’s nose. The sensors will measure the strength of the sphincter, muscles, and spasms as he/she swallows.
  • Upper gastrointestinal GI endoscopy and biopsy: During this test, the doctor inserts an endoscope-a long tube with a light attached through the patient’s mouth to examine the lining of the upper GI tract. He/she will also extract a small tissue (biopsy) to check for GERD or other issues.
  • Esophageal pH and impedance monitoring and Bravo wireless esophageal pH monitoring: Both of these examinations check the pH levels in the esophagus. A thin tube is inserted through the patient’s nose or mouth into the stomach, then he/she is sent home with a monitor that measures and records the pH as one goes about normal eating and sleeping.

GERD Treatment

The following lifestyle changes may be recommended by your doctor in order to manage and relieve symptoms of GERD:

  • To quit smoking
  • Avoid heavy meals late at night
  • Maintaining a moderate weight
  • Elevating your head during sleep
  • Not to lying down immediately after eating

Medication

  • Antacids: Acid reflux symptoms that occur only occasionally and are mild are treated with antacids.
  • H2 receptor blockers: H2 blockers, such as Pepcid AC, reduce the amount of acid that is produced by the stomach.
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs): PPIs function more effectively than H2 blockers, which makes them more beneficial for mending the esophageal lining, which can often get damaged when someone has GERD for an extended period of time.

Surgery

Surgery to treat GERD is in most cases used when lifestyle changes and the use of medication have not responded well.

  • Laparoscopic antireflux surgery: It is also known as Nissen fundoplication. It is a minimally invasive surgery whereby a new valve mechanism is built at the base of the patient’s esophagus to stop the acid reflux.
  • LINX device implantation: This is also a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to treat GERD. A LINX device is a ring of small magnets powerful enough to prevent acid reflux while yet allowing food to pass the junction between the stomach and esophagus.
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